Death Blues

“Do” (Excerpt)

With two hands, sticks, skins, and no small measure of focus, Wisconsin-based multi-instrumentalist Jon Mueller has constructed a catalog that bears his stone-jawed rhythmic precision and conceptual sophistication as calling cards across a deepening roster of collaborations and solo works. As part of the collective behind “post”-“rock” ensembles Collections of Colonies of Bees and Volcano Choir (with Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon), Mueller’s drums constitute the rigid backbone of ambitious guitars+electronics arrangements that smolder into swathes of intricate snare work and tom battery. The eponymous album by his Death Blues project situated him at the center of a series of compositions for drums, voice, and hammered dulcimers, conceding the harmonic dynamism of his other projects in favor of a fist-in-the-air primality — informed by the bludgeoning repetitions of seminal kraut-rock, the rigid structures of minimalism, and by what he deems “the inevitability of death as impetus to become more present in each moment.” With Death Blues blaring on your speakers at the appropriate volume, Mueller foists his physical presence into your airspace, blanketing you with a litany of dry vocalizations and bruising beats that sketch out a black-and-white still image of a man working himself down into the grave, or working himself up into transcendence.

Mueller’s forthcoming Death Blues LP Non Fiction departs from the shorter sessions of his previous album, offering two side-long suites that stretch his rhythmic mantras to new lengths of brain-drilling recursion. The segment of “Do” premiering above finds Mueller pounding out a single phrase with the discipline of a wheat thresher. His kicks and cymbal crashes loop into a hypnotizing foreground, tightly tethered to the one-note squall of Jim Warchol’s and Ken Palme’s hammered acoustic guitars, while a patchwork of glossolalic vocalizations competes for our attention in the back of the mix as the memento mori beckoning us away from the machine blades. The track’s hallucinogenic video, directed by Kaveh Soofi and edited by Mueller himself, superimposes a human figure against a collage of abstracted natural imagery pulsing with fractal details. As the central riff sheds its layers of vocal hysteria for a bone-dry finale, we glimpse a pair of questions meant, like all of Mueller’s music and writings, to draw us back into a celebration of the present.

Non Fiction arrives on June 17 via Sige Records.

• Death Blues:
• Sige Records:


Fucking With Spirits

Witch house. Not the genre, but like an actual witch house. That’s how the new tape from Austin’s Ak’chamel sounds. The label, Centipede Farm, describes it as shaman rock. Alright. Like chanting around huge fires and summoning shit and Fucking With Spirits. ‘Cept shamans were praised for their divine abilities while witches were burned at the stake. Although, if spirits are all rooted in existence after life, then I suppose those who fuck with ‘em get what’s coming to them in the afterlife. The band’s name even sounds like words from some curse enscribed onto old parchment paper. Each of the tape’s tracks confusing themselves with old field recordings of some snake-charmed happenings. Like all those dusty records in the locked room in The Skeleton Key. Are these recordings ritualistic or just made to sound that way through the divine blessing of production?

Fucking With Spirits is available now from The Centipede Farm.

• Ak’chamel:
• Centipede Farm:


“Move That Dope” ft. Pharrell Williams, Pusha T

Ima have to agree with our boii Embling, ‘cause you KNOW Honest (TMT Review) – the new album by Mike WiLL’s go-to rapper Future – deserved a 4.5. It’s layer with plenty of shit to move your mind past generic interpretation. Also, this is why I’m not late to that “Move That Dope” game: it’s being played everywhere I go, so the song is popping off, and the video may have too, but this is just that constant reminder that people dig shit like this on the reg-lyfe, outside of all the weirder shit TMT dabbles in, but also what TMT 4.5s too. Still love Pusha T’s flow. He’ll be crushing it until he lands that new Clipse album, which will end all of us. I also like the way Pharrell’s mouth looks when he uses the word “niggas,” and then think back to his track “Happy.”

Anyhow, Honste is amazing, and the rapping in “Move That Dope,” as well as featuring Pusha and Pharrell at their continuous peak, just proves Future is not only clairvoyant of hits, but will eventually ejac on all ears throughout 2014. Including Grams, which I’m not sure how I feel about that…

• Future:
• Pusha T:
• Pharrell:


City Of Doves

Ah, when you’re in that proverbial rut, aye… lost in the www, encumbered by data/info, perhaps? Direction or purpose seems wayward, and this feeling… ineffable. So many questions, thoughts, BLACK KRAY got me all cerebrate right now. I guess – just like anybody – I’m often prone to existential thoughts, but either way, the sheer atmosphere of City Of Doves alone got a young kid thinking, you know?

But don’t worry, KRAY’s got you covered on all emotional fronts, like this right here be a guaranteed grin inducer. And the tape slaps from top to bottom with tear-jerking, uzi toting emo-thug anthems. Maybe there’s something in the air down there in Flexico because GOTH MONEY RECORDS output for the last year-or-so has been pretty much nonpareil. BLACK KRAY in particular is on his sui generis shit right now. I mean, he’s on some other-world hustle, akin to that godly 2011 SGP grind. Just check the goods, they hella doozies: mixtapes on mixtapes. Thanks for the good times, whodie.

• Goth Money Records:


Hoop Life

The timing is everything,” raps Lil B on “NBATV Commercial” (whose video, by the way, features “extremely rare” Lil B layups and “collectible” shots with his eyes closed). Which is likely why Lil B, the man of the millennium, has just dropped his long-anticipated, NBA-themed Hoop Life mixtape just hours after the Spurs eliminated the Oklahoma City Thunder from the playoffs, preventing the BasedGod’s pseudo-nemesis Kevin Durant (this year’s well-deserved MVP) from getting his first title. Guess Kool Keith wasn’t enough for OKC this time. Call it the BasedGod curse. Call it the White Flame catching The Servant. Call it Lil B being the #1 Bitch.

Durant’s favorite moment on the mixtape? 2:34 - 4:13 on “At the Freethrow.”

“Don’t post if you can’t make a shot!”

Lil B’s “2-disc,” 33-track Hoop Life mixtape is out now. Download here and stream here:

• Lil B “The BasedGod”:


CHOCOLATE GRINDER is our audio/visual section, with an emphasis on the lesser heard and lesser known. We aim to dig deep, but we'll post any song or video we find interesting, big or small.